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Home Education Trends: The Covid Effect

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Following on from publication of our preliminary report on trends in home education, this report examines continuing trends in parental choice to home educate their children and how Covid 19 arrangements have affected those choices.

Home educating families tell us that narratives around home education have shown signs of increasing positivity during school closures, with some indications of recent greater acceptance of the fact that home education and school education are different and equal.

The tide of media reporting mentioned in our previous report has slowed, but not stemmed, with increasing emphasis and hyperbole around the number of children coming new to home education. Parents tell us of their frustration that this centres around negativity in respect of home education as a choice, rather than putting recognised problems within the school system at the forefront.

Ministers, Members of both houses and public bodies continue to propound the narrative of rising numbers of home educated children as a concern. Promises of mandatory registration continue to be made in advance of analysis of the consultation on the issue; home educating families and academics alike describe the consultation as ancillary to a decision already made.

Against this background, it has been interesting to see an increased awareness on the part of Government and some public bodies, of the need to address the ever- widening divide between home educating families and local authorities, a divide originating from widespread loss of trust and confidence in those public bodies.

Much has been said by stakeholders about the need for research to support decision making and rightly so; legislative changes must be based on a solid foundation of need supported by evidence and must not proceed without a sound basis.

Research does exist, data is available, the facts and figures can be provided and this report updates the bank of reliable, available information.